The Ansel Adams Wilderness is dotted with sparkling lakes, glacially sculpted gorges, and imposing peaks. Originally protected as wilderness by the 1964 Wilderness Act, it was first called the Minarets Wilderness. Renamed to honor Ansel Adams in 1984, it spreads over 230,258 acres, ranging in altitude from about 7,000 feet to 14,000 feet.
For thousands of years this area has been inhabited by people of the Miwok, Monache, Mono, Washo, and Shoshone tribes. Acorns, pinon pine nuts, and obsidian were gathered and traded along routes that crisscrossed this wilderness.
The Ansel Adams is located between Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes. The John Muir Trail (and Pacific Crest Trail) passes through this wilderness, and it can be reached from both sides of the Sierra crest. Most people enter the wilderness from the east, starting in the Mammoth Lakes area (near Devils Postpile National Monument), or from the south near Lake Thomas Edison.